Barents/Euro-Arctic Council to be held in Norway

Expansion of cooperation in economic, energy and transport spheres will be on the agenda at the meeting of Prime Ministers of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) member states due on January 10-11 in Norway, the Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko reported on Wednesday.

The agenda also includes the issues of nuclear and radiation security, development of border links, healthcare, education and culture, he said. After the meeting the participants intend to sign a joint declaration, he added.

The Russian party considers its participation in the BEAC as an important direction of its European policy, Yakovenko pointed out. "After ten years of its existence the organization has grown into a well-established and powerful European structure, and has become an efficient mechanism of multilateral cooperation in the North," the diplomat emphasized.

The BEAC meeting will be held in Kirkenes, Norway, and will be timed to the organization's 10th anniversary. On invitation of Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik, heads of government from Russia, Denmark, Island, Finland, Sweden, representatives of the EU chairman, Greece, and of the Commission of European Communities will take part in the event.

The participants also include heads of the member states' administrative territorial units that comprise the BEAC Regional Council. Thus, Russia will be represented by heads of the republic of Karelia, the republic of Komi, the Nenets autonomous area, the Murmansk region and the Arkhangelsk region.

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